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That’s the question raised by this terrific Wall Street Journal story. The firm is GlobalOptions, an extremely well-connected company run by, among others, former FBI and CIA officials. The Kazakh government apparently retained GlobalOptions to monitor, and possibly seek to derail, a Justice Department investigation into James Giffen, an American oilman who is suspected of paying tens of millions of dollars in bribes to President Nursultan Nazarbayev.
Dariga Nazarbayeva, the Kazakh president’s powerful daughter, reportedly lined up the services of the private-security firm. (I met Dariga a few years ago at a reception at the Washington offices of GlobalOptions. She invited me to visit Kazakhstan and told me that if I took her up on the invitation I was certain to meet some beautiful local women. Quite a strange encounter.) In addition to being extremely “murky” in its operations, GlobalOptions was also (as I reported a few years ago) an Iraq war profiteer.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
Acres of hemp grown by “patriotic‚” U.S. farmers in 1942 at the behest of the U.S. government:
A study suggested that the health effects of exposure to nuclear radiation at Chernobyl were no worse than ill health resulting from smoking and normal urban air pollution.
Greenpeace apologized after activists accidentally defaced the site of Peru’s 2,000-year-old Nazca Lines when they unfurled cloth letters reading “time for change” near the ancient sand drawings. “We fully understand,” the group wrote in a statement, “that this looks bad.”
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“I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.”